Ahhh, the Indiana Jones Trilogy: Three unforgettable adventure films that shaped our childhood, still hold up incredibly well today, and that contain a couple specific parts that are memorably, lovingly, COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS. In the ripoff spirit of our ruminations on Home Alone, let’s waste a couple minutes in the year A.D. 2013 discussing the 10 Parts In The Indiana Jones Trilogy That Still Bother Me.
For the record, we’ll only focus on Raiders, Temple Of Doom, and Last Crusade; as far as bother-moments go, we’ll count “96% Of Crystal Skull” as a given. Now, onto the nitpicking of Thing We Love!
1. The characters aren’t fazed by brutally murdering people
Credit the heroic, whimsical John Williams score in the Indy movies for helping us to not notice the morbid circumstances of this archaeology professor, his scientific colleague, and his scholarly father all CONSTANTLY SLAUGHTERING PEOPLE with airplane propellers, rock-crushing conveyor belts, and good ol’ gunshots to the brain. Granted, they’re mostly killing evil Nazis out of self defense, but even the most battle-hardened U.S. soldiers come back from war a little shaken by what they saw, whereas Dr. Jones just heads right back into the classroom, doling out extremely broad lectures and possibly banging female undergrads like he never hung a dude from a ceiling fan.
For the record, my Grandfather fought in World War II and never spoke a single word about his experiences to his family; meanwhile, anytime I successfully go to the gym, I Tweet about how horrible it is 47 times then Instagram a photo of me high-fiving those Tweets and Tweet that too. My point is, I guess we all handle tragic experiences differently.
2. How do the million snakes in the Ark chamber stay alive?
In Raiders, when Indy and Sallah finally uncover the chamber where the Ark is hidden, it’s guarded by thousands upon thousands of crawly, phobia-triggering asps. This begs the obvious question: How did these thousand snakes stay alive in a sealed chamber for 2+ millenia? Was the Ark somehow keeping them alive by magically creating little water dishes and boxes of frozen suffocated rodents? Answer: Yes, actually, because this movie is awesome. Moving on.
3. How does Indy know not to look at the Ark?
Throughout Raiders, Dr. Jones displays a healthy skepticism towards the Ark’s professed magical powers, but at the very end when the Nazis finally open the Ark, Indy urgently tells Miriam not to look at the Ark when it’s opened, and is immediately proven right when a bunch of slow-motion ghosts grossly melt the soldiers’ faces and explode them for good measure.
How did Indy suddenly know that the Ark would magically kill everyone? Was he actually wary of the Ark’s magical properties the whole movie but pretended to be rational and unafraid, or was he just hedging his “Maybe there’s explodey ghosts in there” bets? And how did shutting their eyes protect them from the Ghosts? Does the Ark have the same “eye contact = aggression” rules as gorillas? Or did it spare Indy because he’s pure of heart, and the eye-closing didn’t matter (other than costing him a chance to see some cool-ass Commandment ghosts)?
Short answer, we were all too happy when the creepy torture Nazi melted to care about the details surrounding said meltage. This strikes me as entirely fair and rational.
4. The gross-as-shit food in the Indian Palace
Our next stop on the bother-train is Temple of Doom, a film rife with gratuitously disgusting scenes (bug crunching, heart ripping, you name it!), but no part is as simultaneously inexplicable and disgusting as the dinner scene at the Indian Palace where Indy and Co. are fed a prix fixe of “Snake Suprise,” giant intact beetles, soup with eyeballs floating in it, and a dessert of Chilled Monkey Brains (served “Normal Style” inside cleft monkey heads).
Has Steven Spielberg ever had Indian food? It is delicious and rarely if ever contains a bunch of little live snakes that slither out of a giant dead snake. More importantly, WHAT WAS THEPOINT OF THIS SCENE OTHER THAN TO SCAR CHILDREN??? I remember being permanently terrified of this dining scene (as well as the ‘bug-floor’ scene) when I was little, then re-watched the movie many years later thinking I’d have a good laugh at my stupid childhood scares, only to realize that I was COMPLETELY CORRECT to have been disturbed by this movie.
Between the “Chilled Monkey Brains” and the close-ups of the Mogwai eating fried chicken inGremlins, it’s safe to say that 80s Spielberg harbored an odd obsession with unnecessarily gross eating scenes. Perhaps an homage to his idol, Orson Welles? (Welles’ real-life eating habits, I mean.)
5. Where does everyone go after the heart-ripping ceremony?
Everyone remembers the famous and still impressively-disturbing heart-ripping scene in Temple Of Doom, but immediately after the ceremony, the worshipers and the Priest casually empty out of the chamber, leaving Indy to swing in and examine the unguarded Shankara Stones.
Where does everyone go?? Is there a post-service lunch spread in the back, with all the worshipers standing around eating cold cuts and celery sticks and telling the Priest “Hey Rev, beautiful heart-rip this week! The heart catching on fire while the dude’s body burns has really helped my marriage through some tough times lately.”
BOTHER SIDENOTE: Even though the Temple of Doom cult is portrayed as ruthless and single-minded, I would also worship a God capable of making CONSTANT TERRIFYING MAGICALSHIT happen. If you witnessed a God keep a dude alive without a heart, completely brainwash humans with curse-blood, and cause literal Voodoo to happen, you’d be crazy NOT to respect that God, right?
Anyway, fellow Kali Ma converts, moving along…
6. Why do they enslave kids to work in the mine when they have hundreds of fully-grown men?
The Temple of Doom cult abducts every child from the nearby villages and forces them to dig in their mines to find the last two Shankara Stones. Not to be an armchair cultlord here, but the cult also employs dozens of GIANT dudes to whip the mining children, another hundred or so devout worshippers, and another hundred (highly inaccurate-shooting) soldiers — why don’t the adults just dig in the mines themselves and leave the kids alone? Wouldn’t that be a million times more effective AND a million times less evil? Who’s managing their books, Lord Grantham from Downton??? (UP TOP, MATTHEW CRAWLEY FANS!)
7. After two movies, Indy is STILL skeptical about magic stories
At the beginning of Last Crusade, Dr. Jones is approached by the antiquities collector Walter Donovan, who shows him numerous new artifacts indicating the possible location of the Holy Grail, and Indy is immediately dismissive of these “Bedtime Stores”. Indiana has seen the Ark of the Covenant melt a hundred dudes and a shaman rip a man’s heart out and keep him alive, but he’s STILL instantly dismissive of farfetched legends?
“Nahhh, nice try, Donovan, but that ghost-box and the voodoo castle were the only twoINSANELY MAGICAL THINGS that this rational archaeologist believes in. Oh look, a talking unicorn is handing me the key to the City of Atlantis. Nice try, Unicorn-o, but Atlantis is a myth!”
8. Was the Knight’s Tomb in Venice three feet under a cafe that whole time?
On his quest to find the Grail, Indy digs under the floor of a library, braves an underground canal full of rats and eventually-flaming petroleum, copies an inscription on the knight’s tomb, then escapes the fire by coming up through a manhole cover in the middle of a Venetian cafe. It’s a fun moment, but once you stop “enjoying this enjoyable movie” and overthink it, does this mean that the coveted Knight’s Tomb harboring the location of the Holy Grail — which Henry Jones Sr. spent his entire life seeking and which was guarded for centuries by a group of dudes in Fezzes led by Frank Zappa — was three feet under a Venetian cafe this whole time? And crawling through 8 trillion rats to reach it was completely unnecessary?
“Ehh, but the manhole cover was pretty heavy, and it already had a table over it with a sugar packet under one of the legs to balance it out, and we would’ve felt like jerks moving that, so we went the other ‘flaming rats’ way…”
9. If the hint is “kneel,” what the hell is the second blade for?
In the cave where the Grail is kept, Indy uses clues from his father’s diary to navigate the “Three Challenges,” and deduces from the first clue — “Only the penitent man will pass” — that the ‘penitent man’ is humbled before God and therefore he kneels, and Indiana kneels at the last second before a spinning blade just misses chopping his head off. Success!
EXCEPT! There’s also a SECOND BLADE along the ground (see the above GIF) that Indy has to roll past before jamming the mechanism with his whip. If the correct hint was “Kneel,” what dickhead stuck that cheap-ass second blade there?? “Don’t you know, the ‘penitent man’ kneels before God then nimbly somersaults closer to God then uses the whip of his faith to jam the gears of unbelieving?”
How many people before Indy correctly knelt then got killed by the floor-blade? The knight who designed that unclear, unfair piece of shit was the medieval ancestor of your friend who played as Oddjob and always guarded the Body Armor in N64 Goldeneye.
10. This Nazi covering his face before driving off a cliff
Alright, technically this wasn’t a moment that ‘bothered’ me so much as one that makes me laugh every time I see it, but my favorite easily-missable moment in Raiders is this Nazi driver getting bumped off the road by Indy and bracing himself by slightly covering his face beforeFALLING OFF A NINE MILLION FOOT HIGH CLIFF.
The only thing that would make this part better is if the Nazi pulled out a tiny umbrella, Wile E. Coyote style, landed at the bottom of the cliff in a puff of smoke, then a “Waahhhh woowwww” sound effect played as the cartoonishly mangled Nazi came out of the pile of rubble, gave a thumbs-up, then his teeth cracked and he keeled over. Actually, I’m pretty sure that’s an actual scene in the Fourth movie. But my memory’s spotty.
So that’s it! That’s the ten. Oh, also, everything Kate Capshaw says or does in Temple Of Doom. But turning that into GIFs would’ve used up the remainder of the entire internet’s bandwith.
Other parts in the Indiana Jones movies that always bothered you, confused you, or scarred you as a child? Feel free to leave ‘em in the comments!